Sylvinho: ‘Winning a treble with Barcelona was spectacular. I ate it up’


Former Arsenal defender on Wenger and Guardiola, managerial hopes, coaching Brazil and Inter and why the key to football is soul

Sylvinho is laughing again, slapping a palm over his eyes before pulling it down to cover his mouth where an oh is forming. He recalls the scene, the embarrassment of the day after, and cracks up. It’s true, he concedes: there are pictures to prove it. “It’s a good story,” he says and the story goes that amid those wild, frantic seconds after Andrés Iniesta’s 93rd-minute winner at Stamford Bridge in 2009, while everyone lost their heads, Sylvinho chased Pep Guardiola down the touchline, grabbed him and, shouting through the din, signalled a safe passage to the final.

“I could say: ‘Yeah, I was calm, I had it all under control, I knew exactly what to do, what was going on,’” Sylvinho says, grinning. “False. I remember Guardiola saying: ‘Keep the ball, be calm, don’t just shoot.’ But it’s not happening and in the last minute, a man down, Iniesta produces that shot. Goal. Everyone starts running. Some on to the pitch, some the other way. Everywhere. It was crazy, everyone going mad.” He waves his hand, the swirl of emotions, then clicks his finger. “I didn’t know what I was doing. It came from inside. There was a click. And I said something like: ‘Míster, there are two changes, eh.’”

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Written by Sid Lowe
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Sylvinho: ‘Winning a treble with Barcelona was spectacular. I ate it up’

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